Texas Standard for April 15, 2022

The business of border security. Who’s making millions, and who’s paying the price tag? An investigation by the Houston Chronicle takes a closer look. And: New commercial checkpoints at the border set up by Gov. Abbott now opening back up for business? We’ll have the latest. Also: Presidential debates and their impartiality. How debatable? The GOP says Republicans running for president will have to sign a pledge not to participate with the Commission on Presidential Debates. Richard Pineda of the University of Texas at El Paso talks about the implications. Plus: Kristen Cabrera cracks open the story of an Easter tradition especially widespread in South Texas and northern Mexico. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardApril 15, 2022 9:41 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, April 15, 2022.

Huge amounts of money are sloshing around Greg Abbott’s border initiatives – with little oversight

Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to increase security along the Texas-Mexico border is creating a multi-million dollar boon for private contractors. A new investigation from the Houston Chronicle finds tens of millions of dollars are going to staffing companies, tech firms and builders – all without an official bidding or solicitation process. Jay Root, investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle, joins us with the story.

Republicans say they’re finished with the Commission on Presidential Debates

Heading into the 2024 presidential election, the Republican National Committee says they’re withdrawing from the Commission on Presidential Debates. In the announcement yesterday, the RNC chair said they will not “go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people.” We’ll learn more from Richard Pineda, director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge reopens after blockade is disbanded in Mexico

Additional border security checks ordered by Gov. Abbott – which Customs and Border Protection has called unnecessary – have increased inspection times for commercial traffic from hours to days. Now, a blockade created by drivers in Mexico to protest Abbott’s order has been cleared. Texas Public Radio’s Pablo De La Rosa reports.

What the discovery of an aquifer could mean for rural Southwest Texas

Southwest Texas is a pretty arid place – not quite the desert, but not much more than scrubby shrubs and trees. That’s why it was surprising when the Texas Water Development Board announced researchers had discovered a new aquifer that stretches under Eagle Pass into parts of Kinney, Uvalde, Zavala, and Dimmit counties. Larry French, director of the groundwater resources department at the Texas Water Development Board, shares the finding with us.


Families across Texas who celebrate Easter have varying traditions. For many, especially Mexican American families, cascarones are a staple in children’s Easter baskets. These colorful and painstakingly handmade confetti eggs have one purpose only: to be smashed on someone’s head. The Standard’s own Kristen Cabrera takes us through what makes these eggs special.

25 years ago, an armed group of Texas secessionists took hostages. Could it happen again?

For seven days in April 1997, an armed militia styling itself as the Republic of Texas tried to secede from the state, culminating in a weeklong hostage standoff with law enforcement in west Texas. On the 25th anniversary of the tense incident, Rachel Monroe wrote about the standoff for The New Yorker, and she joins us on the show today.

Typewriter Rodeo

The gang delivers another poem inspired by events both current and timeless. Submit your own suggestions online! 

The week in Texas politics

Texas Tribune political reporter James Barragán stops by with a recap of the week that was, including speculation over the political fates of some South Texas Democrats as Republicans try to make inroads there. Barragán also touches on Beto O’Rourke’s criticism for President Biden over ending a health policy that rapidly expels migrants, and the indictment of Harris County staffers tied to Lina Hidalgo’s office.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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